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INTRODUCTION: While Alzheimer's disease (AD) is defined by amyloid-β plaques and tau tangles in the brain, it is evident that many other pathophysiological processes such as inflammation, neurovascular dysfunction, oxidative stress, and metabolic derangements also contribute to the disease process and that varying contributions of these pathways may reflect the heterogeneity of AD. Here, we used a previously validated panel of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers to explore the degree to which different pathophysiological domains are dysregulated in AD and how they relate to each other. METHODS: Twenty-five CSF biomarkers were analyzed in individuals with a clinical diagnosis of AD verified by positive CSF AD biomarkers (AD, n = 54) and cognitively unimpaired controls negative for CSF AD biomarkers (CU-N, n = 26) using commercial single- and multi-plex immunoassays. RESULTS: We noted that while AD was associated with increased levels of only three biomarkers (MMP-10, FABP3, and 8OHdG) on a group level, half of all AD participants had increased levels of biomarkers belonging to at least two pathophysiological domains reflecting the diversity in AD. LASSO modeling showed that a panel of FABP3, 24OHC, MMP-10, MMP-2, and 8OHdG constituted the most relevant and minimally correlated set of variables differentiating AD from CU-N. Interestingly, factor analysis showed that two markers of metabolism and oxidative stress (24OHC and 8OHdG) contributed independent information separate from MMP-10 and FABP3 suggestive of two independent pathophysiological pathways in AD, one reflecting neurodegeneration and vascular pathology, and the other associated with metabolism and oxidative stress. DISCUSSION: Better understanding of the heterogeneity among individuals with AD and the different contributions of pathophysiological processes besides amyloid-β and tau will be crucial for optimizing personalized treatment strategies. Highlights: A panel of 25 highly validated biomarker assays were measured in CSF. MMP10, FABP3, and 8OHdG were increased in AD in univariate analysis. Many individuals with AD had increased levels of more than one biomarker. Markers of metabolism and oxidative stress contributed to an AD multianalyte profile. Assessing multiple biomarker domains is important to understand disease heterogeneity.

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Journal article


Alzheimer's and Dementia: Translational Research and Clinical Interventions

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